By Black Men In America.com Staff
The recent White House summit regarding the events in Ferguson is one of many incidents and experiences resulting from the Ferguson Grand Jury’s decision not to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown.
Everybody seems to have an opinion on this topic and some of the opinions have nothing to do with facts and other related data. Here is a fact or two to consider:
- According to a study by USA Today, an average of 96 blacks are killed by white cops per year.
- Last year, 6,000 blacks were murdered by other blacks — more than 60 times the number of blacks killed by white cops.
- In 2013, 409 whites were murdered by blacks.
- Black participation in the labor market has been steadily going downward during the Obama presidency. All other racial groups have moved up. Blacks are the only group that has taken a definitive step backwards.
The National Review Online posted an article by Peter Kirsanow with statistics on other issues of concern to black America including black unemployment, educational achievement, single motherhood, household income, poverty rates, and school discipline.
Black columnist black Americans are worse off economically under President Obama.an article in May of this year contending that
NBA Analyst and former NBA great Charles Barkley conducted a “no-holds’ barred interview on CNN where he called the looters in Ferguson scumbags. Barkley also said: “Every time something happens in the black community, we have the same cast of sad characters. We don’t have to have Al Sharpton go there, we don’t have to have — and I’m not disparaging [Brown family lawyer] Mr. [Benjamin] Crunk. I know he represented what happened in Florida with Trayvon’s family, and God bless them, but we have the same sad sack of black characters, we need strong black men in St. Louis to stand up, and say, hey, let’s handle this situation?”
Writer Jason L. Riley wrote: “Today blacks are about 13 percent of the population and continue to be responsible for an inordinate amount of crime. Between 1976 and 2005 blacks committed more than half of all murders in the United States. The black arrest rate for most offenses — including robbery, aggravated assault and property crimes — is still typically two to three times their representation in the population. Blacks as a group are also overrepresented among persons arrested for so-called white-collar crimes such as counterfeiting, fraud and embezzlement. And blaming this decades-long, well-documented trend on racist cops, prosecutors, judges, sentencing guidelines and drug laws doesn’t cut it as a plausible explanation.”
Pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson wrote a column where he opined the following: “There are few things that can compare to the emotional devastation that accompanies such an event. This makes the varied emotional responses of Michael Brown’s family more understandable as the tragic events unfolded in Missouri. What is difficult to understand, though, is the benefit that the Ferguson, Missouri, community derives from burning and looting business establishments in their own neighborhoods, especially when unemployment is already a problem. In the meantime, the outside agitators in many cases are sitting in their hotel rooms sipping wine and watching the carnage on television.
Hopefully, people in communities such as Ferguson, like people all over America, are beginning to awaken and realize that they should be more than pawns in the hands of manipulators who, in reality, could not care less about them.”
President Obama held a summit on Ferguson but did not invite any representatives of the Ferguson Police Department. “The president was interested in gathering stakeholders from across the country, not just one community,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest, who said the meetings focused on “building bridges and restoring some trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities that they’re sworn to serve and protect.”
Was the summit more of a political move? Is the White House and Department of Justice serious about bridging the gap between the police and the black community?
President Obama photo courtesy (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
By H. Lewis Smith
In light of the recent Ferguson, Missouri, grand jury decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown, a common denominator associated with all other injustices African Americans face—including others also being unnecessarily killed at the hands of police officers—all across the American landscape was once again proven to undoubtedly exist. In the end, the African American’s life is disregarded and discarded because the Black man in America continues to be viewed as an expendable sub-human by the still-strongly thriving and clearly alive systemic.
This evident truth remains intact and lives on through the American political and judicial systems: basically, law enforcement officers are beholden to politicians, and politicians are beholden to their white constituents. Because the “law” has been written in such a way that allows for heinous acts of racial terrorism to be carried out against African Americans in the name of self-defense, police may be tried in the court of law, but their behaviors will be found permissible. Police are simply carrying out orders to continue to exterminate African Americans, knowing that they will not be convicted. Thus when it comes to law enforcement and the black community, police conduct themselves in a manner acceptable by those to whom they are obligated or swear allegiance. This allegiance is not to protect and serve African Americans. And it isn’t just law enforcement officers, the justice system across the board is suspect.
Young men of color have a disproportionate number of encounters with law enforcement, indicating that racial profiling continues to be a problem. A report by the Department of Justice found that Blacks and Hispanics were approximately three times more likely to be searched during a traffic stop than white motorists. African Americans were twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police.
Bureau of Justice Statistics further dictate that one in every 15 Black/African-American men are currently incarcerated, and that, at a minimum, one in every three black men can expect to go to prison at some point in their lifetime. As for other races, only one in every 106 white males are incarcerated, and one in every 36 for Hispanic males are locked up.
In accepting this reality, one must realize that it is the black man’s responsibility to awaken, protect, uplift and serve its collective self in a manner honoring their race. Since the absolution of slavery, Black America has constantly begged, moaned and groaned, and sought its salvation through governmental subsidies and either the Democratic or Republican political parties. Rather than electing to stand as a united force, self-correct, and self-uplift, Black America refuses to take control of its OWN fate and destiny and looks to someone else to take the reins in boosting the community’s much-needed and more-than-possible rejuvenation.
If Black America is to overthrow the systemic and gain its rightful equality and just treatment, the race must realize that waiting on either political party and/or a certain representative to cure the community’s ailments is not the key, or clearly apparent as of late, the right ingredient at all. In fact, African Americans are being recruited by oppressors to help continue to push the 400-year-old plight in terms of being puppets, turning blacks against one another, and serving as the white man’s cash cows. Sadly, African Americans are too blind to see it. These recruitment efforts dwindle the African-American community’s manpower in this war for real progress and leave the community more distracted, separated, broken, and confused than before. So, if Black America thought Black elected or appointed officials were the cure, please think again.
The Meritorious Manumission Act of 1710, enacted in Virginia, was a law that served to control the mentality of enslaved Africans. The indoctrination established in ancestors a mindset that made them view the world through the white man’s eyes, to make them white in every way except skin color. Those who became skilled at it were rewarded. As such, if any black person saved a white person’s life or protected their property, invented something from which a white person could generate money, or squealed on someone involved in a black slavery revolt, he would secure his own freedom. Such American traditions are still in vogue today albeit in a more sophisticated modus operandi.
The Republican Party’s latest election of two black Senators and one congressman should not be construed as progress or a new level of entitlement or America’s appreciation for the African-American community as a whole. This past election, the Republican Party cleaned house, and many African Americans were excited just to see another “sister” or “brother” elected to office, even if they are republicans. But should the community actually be excited about that, or is this strategy one of the previously-mentioned recruitment tactics?
The definition of the word “Conservative” is “a person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes”; that includes “Law and Order”, which means maintaining the status quo and giving pretense that what is seen is normal. In other words, being a conservative means, according to this definition, that all the suffering African Americans endured is supposed to be normal. When a Black person declares him or herself a conservative, that individual, knowingly or unknowingly, is saying that he/she is politically predisposed to “conserving”, or PRESERVING, the American traditions of the past—including those same traditions of hypocrisy, brutality, and racism toward his or her own people. So the question remains: just what is it that so-called black conservatives are trying to conserve? Conservatism is about white values, white superiority.
Black/African Americans’ monumental mistake is placing their fate and destiny into the hands of political parties (Democrats and Republicans) as opposed to circling the wagons and taking control of their own fate and destiny. Anything less, both political parties are going to continue to use African Americans to their own benefit. Some would argue that African Americans need to demand economic reciprocity for their support, and that it should be verbalized consistently and resolutely communicated as absolute expectation. Such rationale is paramount to trying to mix water and oil together—it just doesn’t work.
African Americans, tired of being taken for granted, are looking for alternatives to the failed policies of the left. Now, the Republican message is resonating with them. However, behind closed doors insofar as African Americans are concerned, the two party system becomes a single party system with its ideology towards Black America being one and the same. This was never more apparent than in the 2004 presidential election when Florida’s black votes were discounted, which unfairly gave the election to Bush. The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) protested but to no avail. They needed one Senator from either party to side with them to overturn the hi-jacking. Instead of gaining the support they certainly should have received, the two parties joined in unison against the CBC, and in so many words, each member of the CBC was told to shut up, take their seats and be quiet.
Black America has been brainwashed into believing that drug abuse, unemployment, unwed teen-age parents, welfare, poverty, and black on black crime, to name a few, are the pathologies of their community. However, reality is such that the Black community has been locked into a NO WIN situation. All the wealth and power in this country has been dispensed over 400 years systemically into the hands of the majority white society. Black people don’t own a significant amount of anything to be able to control their lives to the extent that would promote and allow collective progress. Whites in America today control almost 100% of the income, wealth, power, resources, privileges and all levels of government, making it impossible to compete.
To add insult to injury, during the 80s under the Reagan Administration, the black community was flooded with cocaine by the CIA as noted in the following article: http://www.mega.nu/ampp/webb.html. Millions of lives were adversely affected and the lingering effects are prevalent to this very day; yet, Republican conservatives have the unmitigated gall to look at the Black community in utter contempt asking why the black community is the way it is. Really?
Proverbs 29:18 says: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Black America’s salvation can only be won for its self, by its self. Looking to others to complete this feat for them is NOT going to work. Depending on political parties and the government to win this battle for them is not the answer. Instead, enlightenment, commitment to the collective community’s progress, and establishing economic independence must be at the forefront of each member’s mind and present in every single action taken and association made. Ultimately, this mindset will lead to self-reliance and self-respect, which are the proper ingredients of advancement. Anything less, they can expect to always be treated in an exploitative, subordinated and exclusive manner; to assume otherwise will prove to be an exercise in futility.
H. Lewis Smith is the founder and president of UVCC, the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc., http://www.theunitedvoices.com author of Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Love Affair with the N-Word, and the recently released book Undressing the N-word: Revealing the Naked Truth, Lies, Deceit and Mind Games https://www.createspace.com/4655015
Last week, civil rights leader and political icon Marion Barry died and barely after he had taken his last breath, the media was besmirching his reputation.
Barry was a “true” civil rights icon, not one “appointed” by the media. A “true” icon or leader should be like a candle; the more light he gives the less he becomes. The more light a candle gives out to lighten the darkness, the less it becomes; that is the essence of true leadership and Barry had plenty of that.
Barry was born in Itta Bena, Miss. but was reared in Memphis, Tenn. As a high school teen, Barry had a paper route and was promised a free trip to New Orleans if he obtained 15 new customers. Barry and several other Black teens achieved the 15 new customers goal, but was denied the trip to New Orleans because the city was segregated.
So Barry organized all the other Blacks with paper routes and they refused to work their routes until the newspaper delivered on their promised trip to New Orleans. They ended up receiving a free trip to St. Louis, my hometown because it was not a segregated city. This was the beginning of his fight against discrimination.
Barry graduated from LeMoyne College, now Lemoyne-Owen College, a historically Black college, in 1958 with a degree in chemistry. He went on to receive his M.S. in organic chemistry from Fisk University, another historically Black college. He was only a few credits away from receiving his Ph.D in chemistry from the University of Tennessee before dropping out to devote his attention full time to fight for civil rights for Blacks.
He eventually moved to Washington, D.C. where he served on the school board, four terms as mayor and three terms on the city council. His two signature accomplishments, by far, are his summer youth jobs program and mandating strict minority participation in all DC procurement opportunities.
His youth job program began in the summer of 1979 and was eventually expanded to be a year-round program. Under Barry, government contracting went from 3 percent to 47 percent of all procurement. He also hired professional Blacks to run various government agencies under his control. These actions were unprecedented in D.C. and have never been duplicated since, though every D.C. mayor has been Black.
So, by the time Barry was set up in a sting operation by the FBI smoking crack cocaine in 1990, he had established himself as a political powerhouse in D.C.; he had 20 years of being an advocate for good before he had his first negative blip as an elected official.
This is why I found the media’s behavior so offensive when, upon Barry’s death, they immediately began mentioning his arrest for smoking crack. Is it a legitimate part of Barry’s life’s narrative? Of course, but not in the immediate aftermath of his death. Could the media not allow his body to grow cold before they talked about his personal flaws?
Whenever the media interviewed or discussed Barry, they somehow seemed to always find a way to interject his crack arrest into the story. But somehow this same media never mentions former president Bill Clinton’s many dalliances with women when they interview him or discuss his legacy; they hardly mention his admitted sexual affair with a White House intern, Monica Lewinski.
How many of you are aware of 60 Minutes correspondent and CBS News chief foreign affairs reporter Lara Logan admitted to having sexual affairs with two American men simultaneously in Iraq that led to the two men getting into a fist fight over her (I guess she took her CBS News title literally). U.S. State Department contractor Joe Burkett and CNN correspondent Michael Ware fought a battle royale over Logan in a Baghdad safe house which put innocent people’s lives in jeopardy.
How many of you are aware that NBA broadcaster and TNT announcer Marv Albert was accused of raping at least two women and agreed to plead to lesser charges. He was suspended for two years, but his personal issues are rarely, if ever, mentioned.
I would just simply say, pull up a picture of each of these people and make your own conclusions.
Barry, without question, has created more Black millionaires in this area than all other people combined. Without Barry, there would be no Bob and Sheila Johnson, co-founders of BET, America’s first Black billionaires.
Without Barry, there would be no R. Donahue Peebles, head of Peebles Corporation, the largest Black-owned real-estate development company in America. At the age of 23, Barry appointed him to the Board of Equalization and Review, the real estate tax appeals board; at the age of 24, he was made chairman of the board, one of the most powerful boards in D.C.
To my dismay, even Black-oriented –but not Black owned – media outlets, including The Root (owned by the Washington Post) and The Grio (owned by NBC) have been no better than the White media’s portrayal of Barry.
To White folks who seemed to be confused by the love affair average Blacks had with Marion Barry and are always asking me why Blacks seem to almost worship him; to those with that question, I say for the same reason average Whites seem to almost worship Ronald Reagan.
For all of Barry’s personal demons, like a candle, he used himself up to lighten the path for others. That is why people called him “Mayor for Life.“
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @raynard1223.
By Gary A. Johnson
I tend to cringe whenever I hear about a professional athlete discussing current events. In my experience, the athlete “doesn’t know, what he doesn’t know,” and usually has no idea how ignorant sounds. New Orleans Saints, Tight End Benjamin Watson is the exception and a GREAT one I might add.
Watson came home last Monday night and turned on the television and saw the looting and rioting that was going on in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the grand jury decision not to prosecute Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed civilian. He stared at the TV trying to deal with his emotions.
The next day while sitting in a Target parking lot while his wife was shopping, Watson reportedly compiled an essay based on notes that he had been jotting down via his iPhone throughout the day.
If you have not heard about or read this eloquent essay, I think it is well worth your time to read.
At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision. After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down. Here are my thoughts:
I’M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.
I’M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.
I’M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I’m a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a “threat” to those who don’t know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.
I’M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.
I’M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.
I’M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.
I’M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I’ve seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.
I’M CONFUSED, because I don’t know why it’s so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don’t know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.
I’M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take “our” side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it’s us against them. Sometimes I’m just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that’s not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That’s not right.
I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.
I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing.
I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.
Thank you Benjamin Watson.